Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day 9 - Second Ride

Yesterday was a giant milestone in Marley's training.  While I'm thrilled with how quickly he is coming along, I want to really be sure that he is comfortable and willing with a rider on his back, and that he doesn't associate me coming out to see him with a hard work out and heavy saddle.  That in mind, my plan for the next week is a lot of play and clicker training games with short, positive rides mixed in. 

It was extremely windy today out at the barn which can be really annoying and hard to deal with when there is dust flying everywhere, but it is also really great de-sense training.  After a good brushing, I saddled him as I had the first day, taking my time and making sure anything he reacted to, we went back to visit.  Once again I had to drag that heavy saddle up to his back, and he stood patiently.  Eventually, I want Marley to be going in both western and english tack to ensure a really great foundation for his future home, whichever discipline they may prefer.

Once I was on, we worked on moving forward.  Right now, I'm basically along for the ride, and anytime Marley goes forward, he is rewarded.  He would still rather just stand in place with me on him, but he really started figuring it out towards the end and cuing off of my voice, which I'm also starting to pair with the proper aids.  Even with a horse bolting around and being a total nut in the arena next to us, Marley was a gentleman and kept his focus in the round pen.  At the end, I did the same as I had yesterday and un-tacked him right in the middle of the round pen, but this time went straight into playing with him.

Marley has learned to mirror me and I have wanted to progress with that behavior for a few days.  Today he finally trotted when I started running and I was so excited (I think he knew it too).  After I finished smothering him with praises, he had officially figured out the game.  When I walked, he walked. When I stopped, he stopped.  When I ran, he trotted right along side of me.  Unfortunately my Dad had already left (he was my official photographer of the day) so I'll get video of it asap and post it.  It is so dang cute. 

In other news, Marley is now staying overnight without a halter!  Here he is enjoying his dinner and doing an impression of Donald Trump.
Marley's Donald Trump impression.  Nice hair.
Dinner Time!

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